The Chief of Staff of the Army, General of the Army Corps Pietro Serino, in a hearing today at the Defense Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, underlined the urgency, in the light of the current international scenario, to adopt measures that allow the Army of being “ready to operate in the five operational domains and generate effects in the cognitive and physical dimensions”, as part of the four defense missions.
During the speech, which comes a few days after the hearing in the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, General Serino in fact presented the Army's programmatic lines for his mandate.
First, attention has been paid to staff recruitment, which is a vital component "to express operational capabilities and to respond to the complexity of security challenges and manage the tools that technology makes available". The goal to be achieved is a force of at least 110.000 effectives with a progressive "rejuvenation", also obtained by favoring the return to the labor market of fixed-term volunteers, and a level of specialization in step with increasingly complex systems. It was also highlighted how the numbers of civilian personnel have drastically decreased, particularly in those functions supporting the operational component: a severe shortage, in terms of numbers and skills, which requires immediate measures, starting with the acceleration in hiring.
Furthermore, the continuous evolution of employment scenarios makes it necessary to constantly adapt weapon means and systems, the modernization of which is the necessary condition for the Army to continue to be a credible and effective instrument. Giving priority to the renewal of the armored component, the update program for 2019 Ariete tanks was already launched in 125, aimed at improving their mobility, engagement capacity and integration with the digitized command and control systems.
Also of great importance is the capability for precision engagement in depth, combined with the use of electronic warfare, drones and precision fire. The Armed Forces is also developing, with Leonardo, the New Exploration and Escort Helicopter (NEES) and a program was recently launched to fully equip units with remotely piloted aircraft (APR).
To accompany the process of acquiring new vehicles and equipment, it was also explained how the renewal of the logistic infrastructure park assumes particular importance as an enabling element for the fulfillment of the assigned missions. Added to this is the need to identify training areas that allow the units to practice. "It's necessary," explained General Serino, "collaboration with the institutions to identify new areas that give greater effectiveness to the activities and to distribute the training activities condensed today in Lazio, Sardinia and Puglia throughout the peninsula".
The modernization and adaptation of capacities also pays off the creation of a Terrestrial Industrial Pole is necessary, which sees the collaboration of large companies in the defense sector and the supply chain of Small and Medium Enterprises, supported by a volume of investments equal to the sum of at least three of the current annuities. This maxi-fund should then be associated with national and European administrative and accounting simplification rules, to the benefit of the country system and of the European Union itself, in order to achieve strategic autonomy and greater effectiveness of the production system in the field of security and of the defence.
At the same time, the Army is increasing the technical and logistic personnel and is providing for the fusion of different areas of employment into a single technical-logistical Arma, which allows better management of engineering and operational logistical capabilities to make the most of the modern systems.
Finally, during the intervention, specific attention was paid to the needs of soldiers and families. “These are themes well known to us soldiers”, said General Serino, recalling all the measures implemented, and continuously improving, in terms of welfare. “Military Specificity”, he added, “sees on the one hand the social protection for the soldier and his family and on the other the fulfillment of the particular duties typical of those who work in the defense sector. The time has come to address the issue organically”.
The programmatic lines presented by the Chief of Staff of the Army represent the first steps towards the realization of the contents of the concept paper “Army 4.0, Prepare for the challenges of the future”. In fact, the document identifies five macro-areas on which to concentrate resources in the medium term, in the awareness of the "overbearing" entry into the conduct of operations of the new cyber and space domains, as well as the combination of opportunities and pitfalls that characterize them.